I fear we have raised a generation, or two, of Americans who, quite simply, do not want to work.
I see this every day as a teacher in middle school. Now, granted, middles schoolers are abnormally lazy anyway. That whole hormone thing whaps them upside the head around the age of 12 and for about 18 months they are nearly useless when it comes to getting anything out of them. If I had a dollar for every parent who whimpered at me "But I don't know what happened! He/She has changed so much! He/She used to do all his/her homework!" I could retire today. Some kids manage to avoid the downward spiral that the hormones causes, but they're the exceptions.
However, there is a lot more to it than the hormone thing, and it's not just middle school kids. It's adults as well.
Why work, after all, when staying on the government teat isn't that bad a deal?
Between Obamaphones, free healthcare, housing assistance and all the other goodies that the government hands out like candy, there is no incentive to really go out there and work. Just like there's no incentive for my students to get good grades - they know they're going to be passed on anyway (despite my wishes to the contrary). Even worse, many kids in high school have now figured out that they really don't need to get a job after school because - of course - the government will take care of them. So, why work that hard for the diploma?
Why work hard at all?
Years ago when I was in college the first time, I worked my way through as a waitress at a local hotel. I learned quickly that if I wanted to maximize my tips, I wanted to get the Mexican busboys on my station, rather than the local high school kids. In short, the Mexican guys hustled and cleaned your tables quickly so you could get another customer seated. The American high school kids goofed around. Many of them felt that this work was beneath them, but their parents wouldn't pay for their cars so they did it, reluctantly.
A few weeks ago, I attended an in-service on technology, science and agriculture (in-service training is, in short, teacher classes we take in the summer and during the year to keep up with things). Part of this involved touring a really fascinating greenhouse facility in the local area. One of the other teachers with me (a young guy who hasn't quite gotten it when it comes to the real world), commented that he didn't see any American high school or college kids working at this business. I made the comment, based on my own experience that he wasn't going to see American kids working here because they were too lazy and too entitled. He couldn't believe it, but then of course, the manager of the greenhouse quickly confirmed what I had said - they advertise in the local paper, but rarely get any local people to apply. Instead, they rely on migrant workers. My fellow teacher commented later that he didn't think those were bad jobs at all. They weren't. They just weren't as easy as sitting on your sofa drawing government money.
But really, it all came to a head for me this past year when one of my students informed me that she didn't need to do well in school at all, so she wasn't going to try. I asked her where she got that idea and she told me - "Obama is going to take care of me."